Ghanaians urged to appreciate role of Parliament
Ghanaians must appreciate the role of Parliament in consolidating the country's democratic gains, the Head of the Public Engagement Unit of Parliament, Superintendent Effia Tengey (rtd), has stated.
She pointed out that if the citizenry “see the importance of parliamentary democracy, they will do all they can to protect the country's Constitution”.
Tengey said this last Friday when she and her team paid a working visit to the Information Services Department (ISD) to deepen relations and collaboration in order to produce the right information to the public and thereby help to protect the integrity of the 1992 Constitution.
"We don't want to be oblivious of what is happening in the sub-region.
I can count not less than 10 coups in the sub-region over the last three years," the former Accra Regional Police Public Relations Officer said.
She said Ghana had been saved from these instabilities and coups perhaps because "we may be doing something right”.
"So, how can we continue to strengthen it?
The sovereignty of the people is in Parliament where everybody is represented," she added.
Due to that, Supt Tengey said there was the need to start the engagement which requires a concerted effort between Members of Parliament (MPs) and the citizenry with much focus on the citizens because "we need them to participate in the process."
Mrs Tengey said it was as a result that the unit was opening more channels of communication to have a collective idea of what "we can do to govern our country."
"Government or governance is not one person against the other.
It is the government of the people," she said.
She said the unit has decided to do a stakeholder mapping to identify major stakeholders in Ghana, particularly state institutions, to engage on how to achieve such an objective.
The Public Engagement Unit was departmentalised from the erstwhile Public Affairs Department and now has three divisions.
It's now made up of the media relations unit, the broadcasting unit and the public engagement unit.
It is to ensure participatory and more inclusive democratic process.
It is to get the public to understand the works of Parliament and functions of Parliament and to be carried along.
Contributing to the discussion, the head of Citizens' Bureau, one of the new creations in Parliament, Obed Appiah, said henceforth the ordinary Ghanaian would be allowed to sit in all committee meetings of Parliament and be privy to every report including loan agreements.
To begin with, in carrying the public along, the Standing Orders of Parliament has been amended to reflect the new direction by the Speaker, Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin.
A portal has been created where all such documents will be uploaded and simplified for public consumption.
For his part, the Acting Chief Information Officer of the Information Services Department (ISD), David Owusu–Amoah, said the service was shifting from the old ways of doing things including the over reliance on vans for public education.
The new model, according to him, is the reliance on research as a critical component in taking decisions and analysing them before going public.
The Service has Digitalised all its operations and could track all relevant information, correct misinformation and disinformation, relay it to the minister of information for cabinet consumption.